Larry Flynt is the hedonistically obnoxious, but indomitable, publisher of Hustler magazine. The film recounts his struggle to make an honest living publishing his porn magazine and how it changes into a battle to protect the freedom of speech for all people. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
As Larry Flynt is hardly the usual type of person you think of when you think of the word "hero," it's fitting that this biopic opts not for the standard approach, but to make an offbeat comedy(as writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski did in their screenplay for ED WOOD and the upcoming MAN ON THE MOON, about controversial comedian Andy Kaufman). You may not like him(and one of two faults I had with this film was I think the filmmakers lionized him a little too much), but certainly any society which calls itself free needs to make room for him. Harrelson does a good job in the title role, but the real force for me came from Courtney Love, in an astonishing performance as Flynt's wife, and Edward Norton, one of the best new talents, as Flynt's reluctant lawyer.
Besides that it does lionize Flynt a little too much, there is one problem I had, though. If you believe the film, all of Flynt's opposition came from right-wing blowhards like Charles Keating and Jerry Falwell. Certainly, they did have the most publicized tussles with him. But to ignore the problems he had with feminists makes it rather limited. I don't agree with Gloria Steinhem's contention that the film ignores his depraved side, but I think the film would have been more interesting if it had addressed the opposition he had from both the left and the right. Still, this is a terrific and important film to remind us what freedom really is.
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